January 11th 2017
Elle Macpherson: how to survive the party season with your health and sanity intact
December 11th 2016
Photography by Billie Scheepers
Meditation, exercise, mocktails and her family traditions - Get The Gloss columnist and ‘The Body’ Elle Macpherson tells us her secrets on staying healthy throughout the madness of Christmas and the party season
December is a crazy month; we are all overworked, stressed and partied out. Here is my guide on eating and drinking healthily and generally looking after yourself at this busy time. Because there’s nothing worse than getting to January and feeling horrendous…
How I survive December with sanity intact
It sounds simple but I just schedule it all in. At the start of the month, I’ll sit down with a calendar planner and schedule in all our family commitments (family always comes first) then I’ll add in business appointments and exercise - it’s just as important to schedule in your exercise as work meetings. Then I add the parties. Of course, throughout the month I’ll drink water, water, water and my Super Elixir Alkalising Greens, without fail!
Party food and drink
If I’m going out, I love a virgin cocktail (I am quite partial to a mock Mojito – fresh lime, slices of ginger, soda, lots of ice and a little mint on top) or a simple ginger ale on ice in a tumbler. Sometimes I have it in a champagne glass. I also love elderflower water. As far as canapés go, I skip the snacks; they add up and are not that enjoyable - they’ve usually been sitting around for a while too. If I’m throwing the party myself, I choose a great champagne to start or a vodka-based cocktail. For non-drinkers, it might be elderflower water. I love a cheese and nut plate or tuna tartar on gluten-free toast as canapés. If there’s a meal, there’ll be a choice of fish or chicken, vegetables and salad, accompanied by a great wine (very important). Sometimes we will do a vegan meal depending on the guests. Finally, dessert - I personally love a soufflé.
Fitting in exercise at this busy time
The busier I am, the more important it is to stick to my morning wellness routine, which includes exercise and getting out in the fresh air. I exercise every day, it keeps me grounded, energised and feeling good about myself and what I have going on. Lately, I’ve increased my sessions from 45 minutes every day to one hour in the mornings and often something in the evening - I love to go for a walk after dinner. I love boxing with Albert, my trainer, and often I'll get some girlfriends together and train (and chat). I try to get it done early in the morning (8am), so I've got time for all the other fun things planned. It also starts the day right.
What I avoid over Christmas
My nutritional doctor Simone Laubscher gave me some wonderful advice once for holiday season. She tells all her patients you can have four days where you can eat whatever you like. I choose Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day where I am relaxed about what I eat and then once those days are over I go back to normal. It’s a great concept because it stops that inevitable landslide of indulging that can take you to the end of January. If I do feel I’ve overindulged for the rest of the month, I might replace one meal a day with a protein shake with fresh almond milk and a banana or chia seeds soaked in almond milk. This way, the holiday meals don't start overtaking my metabolism. I’ll then tend to do a plant-based detox week towards the end of January to really kick-start the New Year.
When everyone is reaching for chocolate…
I prefer quality organic 80 per cent cacao chocolate. However, part of my planning process for the holidays is to pre-make some healthy treats – our Nourishing Chocolate Protein Powder makes a great base ingredient in chia puddings and raw ice cream. We have recently launched a kids chocolate protein too so the whole family can now enjoy it.
I love this recipe for a healthier alternative to the Christmas chocolate log from @naturally_nutritious
2 tbs chia seeds
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 scoop of Super Elixir Nourishing Protein
Combine all ingredients and soak overnight. Top with blueberries or fruit of your choice.
The Christmas traditions I really look forward to
I love decorating the tree with the kids, all five. We've collected ornaments from around the world and each of the kids has their favorites. While decorating, we often reminisce about where we found them or which ones the kids loved as children. My favourites are the funny ones such as a koala on skis or a New York taxi cab; we have wooden soldiers, like puppets, from England and beautiful globes with pictures of the kids when they were babies. I also still love preparing the Santa sacks (even though we have two nearly 19-year-olds, a 16-year-old and two nearly 14s) they each have one with their names on them and they've had them since they were small. Santa puts them at the end of the bed on Christmas Eve for when they wake up on Christmas morning. On Christmas Day, we are usually in the snow, so we have a cozy breakfast - pancakes, eggs, panettone - then a lighter lunch and a big Christmas night party with all the family and friends.
How I stay sane amid the family madness
Keeping up my meditation routine is important, as is breathing, smiling, practising patience and love without judgement! Doing exercise throughout and drinking lots of water help too. If things are really stressful, I'll make a cup of my SleepWelle Calming Tea; it works wonders and I can wake up to Boxing Day refreshed.
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